A new study investigating the spraying of Agent Orange and many other herbicides at a New Brunswick army base has shown that, only those who are in direct contact with the spray, for instance people involved in mixing, spraying, and clearing of brush, are exposed to long term health risks, due to the presence of contaminants in the spray.
The finding follows a series of scientific reports, communicating potential health risks due to the extensive spraying of chemical herbicides in the military training base in Canada.
The harmful substances found in defoliants could pose a health risk to those who are directly involved in the spraying activity. The researchers confirmed that people who live in the surrounding areas or those who have been trained at the base, are not under any health risk.
Dennis Furlong, co-coordinator of the fact-finding mission said, "The soldiers training there today are safe. Historically, people living in the vicinity of Base Gage town had negligible risks. The people who were on the base during the process of this spray appear to have negligible risks, unless they were in direct contact with the product, delivery of the product or exposure to the product. Then they may have an augmented risk."
The contaminants in the sprays, dioxin and hexachlorobenzene, could pose potential health problems and trigger chronic illnesses such as cancer, hormonal problems, or even reproductive problems. Officials working in the base are unable to estimate the precise number of people who could have exposed themselves to risk, due to contact with the sprays.
"We have the complete results of who might have been on the base from 1952 to present, but we don't have the number of folks who might have been in the training area at the time during our annual spray. We're trying to make it more precise." said Col. Ryan Jestin, base commander.